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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Stop Playing Those Blues
Original Recordings 1946-47




  1. Sugar
  2. I Want a Little Girl
  3. Blues for Yesterday
  4. Blues In the South
  5. Endie
  6. Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?
  7. Where the Blues Were Born in New Orleans
  8. Mahogany Hall Stomp
  9. Ain’t Misbehavin’
  10. Rockin’ Chair
  11. Back O’Town Blues
  12. Pennies From Heaven
  13. Save It, Pretty Mama
  14. St James Infirmary
  15. Jack-Armstrong Blues
  16. Fifty-Fifty Blues
  17. Please Stop Playing Those Blues
  18. A Song Was Born

I have all the Armstrong albums in this series and there is no doubt at all, that this is the best to date. In 1946 Louis disbanded his Big Band, the popularity of the large bands was fading and in any case Louis was such an outstanding player and singer that he overwhelmed the Big Bands he lead. There is an example of the last Big Band on track 5, the band is certainly well up to scratch, but not the right vehicle for Louis to be involved in.

Tracks 9 to 14 come from the famous New York Town Hall concert of May 17, 1947, I originally bought them on 78rpm, then on LP and now on CD. They are fine examples of Louis at the peak of his playing career and what a peak it was. With a line up of Louis on Trumpet, Bobby Hackett on Cornet, Jack Teagarden on Trombone, Peanuts Hucko on Clarinet, Dick Cary on Piano, Bob Haggart on Bass and Sid Catlett on Drums, it was called the Louis Armstrong All Stars and it set the pattern that Louis used for his bands for the remainder of his long and highly successful career. It also brought to the attention of a wider audience the great abilities of Jack Teagarden, not only as a superb Trombone player and vocalist, but also as a foil for Louis in the ‘entertainment’ department. The contribution of Bobby Hackett should not be underestimated, I suspect he was included on the ‘gig’ to give Louis a break when he needed one, but he is a major contributor to the success of the show. It is quite interesting that Ain’t Misbehavin’ was taken at a faster tempo than usual, but Pennies from Heaven was a lot slower than might have been expected. Perhaps everyone was a bit excited that night!

On the previous three tracks 6 to 8, Kid Ory was on Trombone and whilst he was the master New Orleans style trombone player, his contribution of rhythmic phrases, did not give the instrument anything like the possibilities Teagarden created. Barney Bigard however demonstrated his superb control on the clarinet, he was without doubt on of the great clarinet players of the time and at a later date joined the Armstrong All Stars as a replacement for Peanuts Hucko. He can be heard with the band on track 17. He was one of a very few musicians to be featured by both Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong

Track 18 had Louis with Jeri Sullavan and the Golden Gate Quartet, plus Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton & Mel Powell on a track which has some good solos, but one wonders what market it was aimed at.

This album has Louis Armstrong in his prime and is a must for all serious jazz collectors. As usual NAXOS have done an excellent job on noise removal and there is a very good sleeve note by Scott Yanow.

Don Mather



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